Birch Ridge Golf Course, a nine-hole layout on the Kenai Peninsula on Alaska’s south-central coast. Photo by David Phipps
When the USGA announced it would hold the 60th U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, July 30-Aug. 4, 2022, at Anchorage (Alaska) Golf Course, where Michael Stern, a 16-year GCSAA member, is superintendent, it signaled final execution of the governing body’s goal to hold a championship in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Alaska, the 49th state, would be the last state to host. After all, the Last Frontier is also last on the list of states ordered by number of golf courses. According to the National Golf Foundation, Alaska has just 22 courses. Tiny Delaware checks in at 49th with nearly twice as many — 40 courses.
Alaska is the only state in which all golf courses are open to the public. According to the NGF, only six Alaska courses have 18 or more holes.
Just a regular round at Anchorage Golf Course. Photo courtesy of Anchorage Golf Course
Considering the state’s massive size, it’s a given that Alaska has the fewest golf courses per square mile (656,425) — a mere .00003/square mile. Rhode Island, with 58 courses over 1,545 square miles, leads the U.S. with .03754/square mile.
Alaska is far enough north, its golf season is short — four or five months — but, around the summer solstice, its golfing days can be long. Some courses take advantage of the midnight sun and offer tee times from 5 a.m. to past midnight, no lights or glow-in-the-dark golf balls needed.
Read more about golf in Alaska and the state’s golf course superintendents in these dispatches from GCSAA’s Northwest field staff representative, David Phipps:
• Golf in Fairbanks, Alaska
• Golf on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula
• Golf in Wasilla and Palmer, Alaska